University of Illinois: Virtual Campus Tour
A UIHistories Project by Kalev Leetaru   

Florida / Pennsylvania Avenue

Residence Halls

The Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Halls, often known simple as PAR, anchor the southeast of main campus with the Florida Avenue Residence Halls, known simply as FAR.

The Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Halls opened in September 1962 as the first coeducational undergraduate dormitories on campus, with the rooms equally split between men and women. The $5.75M complex consists of four buildings containing 1,032 rooms: Babcock Hall, Blaisdell Hall, Carr Hall, and Saunders Hall. Babcock Hall is named after the Dean of College of LAS from 1913 to 1931, Kendric Babcock. He also served as Provost for 6 years. The housemother of the University's first women's residence hall, and a Professor of German from 1900 to 1931, Daisy Blaisdell, is the namesake of Blaisdell Hall. Robert F. Carr, chairman of the Memorial Stadium fundraising drive, and a University trustee in the 1900's, is honored through Carr Hall. Saunders Hall is named after Alta Gwinn Saunders, who oversaw the development of "business English" courses at the University and served as a professor from 1917 to 1948.

Before the Hall officially opened in September for the semester, the Board of Trustees authorized on June 20 an extension to the contract with Kuhne-Simmons Company (the general contractors) for the installation of four trophy cases for a cost of $2,810.

Site clearance for the Florida Avenue Residence Halls began in March 1965, and the two buildings that make up the Florida Avenue Residence Halls, Oglesby Hall and Trelease Hall, opened for occupancy in September 1966. Together, the two buildings cost between $6.4M and $7.5M to construct.

When they were opened, the buildings offered a "new concept in dormitory living", with "limited single room accommodations, air conditioning in every room and 'pavillion' dining facilities", which were all a first for University Housing on campus. At the time, ISR and PAR offered air conditioning only in their first floor lounges. One tower was to be male-only, while the other was to be female-only, and the two together could hold up to 1,335 students. They shared a "central building for offices, special service rooms and dining rooms" with "two large dining rooms with a central kitchen [at each end]". Two "pavilion dining rooms" anchored the ends of the two larger dining rooms and could be used for various meetings or "students who want to eat in a small informal room, without the noise and mass of people associated with dormitory eating areas".

There were also multipurpose rooms that could also double as classrooms, "a new concept in teaching [which] brings the teachers to the students and gives the classroom an informal atmosphere highly conducive to effective learning".

On June 15, 1966, the names of the Florida Avenue Residence Halls were selected, with the woman's hall being named Leah Fullenwider Trelease Hall in honor of

the late Mrs. Trelease, who died on July 12, 1957, [who] had been associated with the University of Illinois since she came here to begin graduate work in 1916. She was a member of the English Department faculty from 1920 until illness forced her to go on leave of absence in 1955. She was one of the University's truly distinguished academic citizens and one of its memorable teachers. From 1945 to 1948, she also served as Dead of Women. In addition to a full-time career as a teacher of English composition and literature, Professor Trelease was author and co-author of English texts and anthologies. She was undoubtedly one of the most papular [sic] teachers of her time, and she touched the lives of so many that her influence in undergraduate student life merits a memorial

The men's hall was named Richard J. Oglesby Hall in honor of

Richard J. Oglesby [who] was elected three times as Governor of Illinois, in 1864, 1872, and 1884. (He resigned as Governor in 1873, shortly after his second inauguration, to become United States Senator.) He had practiced law in Sullivan, Illinois, before going into public office. He served under General U. S. Grant in the Civil War and became a Major General in 1863. He was Governor of Illinois when the University was established, signed the bill creating the Illinois Industrial University, and appointed its first Board of Trustees

Paul Ingrassia, who received the 1993 Pulitzer for Journalism, lived in 204 Oglesby from 1969-1970.

 Fast Facts about the Florida Avenue Residence Hall 
 Date Built September 1962 / September 1966
 Full Name  Florida Avenue Residence Halls (FAR)
 Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Halls (PAR)

 Full History Florida /Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall History 
 Photo Gallery Florida / Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall Photo Gallery
 On the Map  Florida Avenue Residence Hall on the Campus Map 
 Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall on the Campus Map
 Quick Links Campus Housing 

Selected Images of the Florida Avenue Residence Hall
  Below is a selection of images of the Florida Avenue Residence Hall. These images may be viewed for personal use only and may NOT be republished in any form. To use one of these images in a U of I presentation or Web or print publication, please click on the "download" link beneath each image to download the image free of charge.